Death At La Fenice by Donna Leon

Commissario Brunetti is such a likable policeman.
Brunetti, for his part, earned slightly more than three million lire a month as a commissario of police, a sum he calculated to be only a bit more than what his father-in-law paid each month for the right to dock his boat in front of the palazzo. A decade ago, the count had attempted to persuade Brunetti to leave the police and join him in a career in banking. He continually pointed out that Brunetti ought not to spend his life in the company of tax evaders, wife beaters, pimps, thieves, and perverts. The offers had come to a sudden halt one Christmas when, goaded beyond patience, Brunetti had pointed out that although he and the count seemed to work among the same people, he at least had the consolation of being able to arrest them, whereas the count was constrained to invite them to dinner.
And, he works in such a beautiful city.
Brunetti walked up toward the hotel, still lighted, even at this hour when the rest of the city was darkened and sleeping. Once the capital of the dissipations of a continent, Venice had become a sleepy provincial town that virtually ceased to exist after nine or ten at night. During the summer months, she could remember her courtesan past and sparkle, as long as the tourists paid and the good weather held, but in the winter, she became a tired old crone, eager to crawl early to bed leaving her deserted streets to cats and memories of the past.
But these where the hours when, for Brunetti, the city became most beautiful, just as they were the same hours when he, Venetian to the bone, could sense some of her past glory. The darkness of the night hid the moss that crept up the steps of the palazzi lining the Grand Canal, obscured the cracks in the walls of churches, and covered the patches of plaster missing from the facades of public buildings. Like many women of a certain age, the city needed the help of deceptive light to recapture her vanished beauty.
This was a wonderful novel of mystery, uncovering the reasons behind the death of a famous maestro, who was discovered bent backward from poisoning after the intermission of Traviata. Donna Leon writes of her characters vividly and her mystery masterfully. I especially enjoyed the vicarious trip to Venice upon each page.
I highly recommend this for the Venice in February Challenge to come.
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11 thoughts on “Death At La Fenice by Donna Leon”

  1. I can't wait to start reading this! I didn't read the quotes you included, but will come back after I finish the book. Just need to finish reading The Postmistress (which I'm loving!).

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  2. I already have it on my shelf for next month. I've read a couple that were later on in the series, but I'm looking forward to reading this first in the series.

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  3. On my reading list and will recommend to my sister, who just returned from Venice. I wanted to let you know I used your henry green information on my blog with a link and to winston's dad's blog as well. I hope you don't mind! so enjoy your blog.

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